A bit of coaching philosophy.

I admit, it has been a long time, way too long since I wrote a post. I did not retire or even slow down, rather the opposite I might say. In the last two months, all of sudden, a lot of new developments came together and I needed time to process it all. The world of elite sports is a dynamic one, things improve or change at a rapid pace. New developments, be it technical innovations or concepts.

Also as you might have read in my last post, I put new batteries in my stopwatch and started coaching again.

Watching the start of my pupil

The road is long, the hill is steep and there is no guarantee for success, but then, if somebody told you that coaching athletes is easy he/she has been lying to you. It has never been easy and will never be.

I used the holiday period to read a lot and some ideas came up.

It started with reading about art. I always enjoyed the paintings of Monet, the French impressionist who was very fond of the Giverny gardens and pond. Monet was an excellent artist. One of his famous water lily paintings sold for more than € 40 million. And he produced about 250 water lily paintings!

In sports we have these artists and craftsmen too. We call them coaches, not the smartest kids in class, otherwise we would have chosen a different career. But somehow we got into coaching and most of us got stuck here.

Now the connection: recently I read an article about pigment-science. In this science researchers analyze the pigments of e.g. paintings by Monet.
And there it was: a parallel with the situation in sport and fitness: too many pigment-scientists, way too few Monet’s, too many laborers, too few artists and craftsmen, too many analyzers, too few creative developers and integrators.

Very few of the younger generation of coaches and sport scientists take the time to generate their 10.000 hours (or more!) to become a master in their field. No, after 3 months they have become specialists, after 6 months they see themselves as experts, after 9 months they call themselves masters and within one year they think they know it all. Of course everybody who wants to build a new house wants to be the architect or the designer, very few people like to carry the bricks and put them on top of each other.

If you want to be successful in the long-term: change you mindset from “specialist” or “expert” to artist. Pigment scientists are replaceable, and easy to forget, Monet was not.

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